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STUDY: Nearly 80% of Publishers & Marketers Would Outsource Data Strategy & Execution

Lotame today announced the release of its first-ever “Data Activation & Success Report.” As more publishers and marketers invest in audience data collection and activation, the report examines how these organizations use audience data, manage it and evaluate its success. For the study, more than 300 senior decision-makers in digital media and marketing were polled between October 26th and November 5th.    

Almost 80% say they would outsource data strategy and execution

Almost 70% (69%) of respondents said that their organization collects audience data. When asked to describe how valuable audience data was to their organization, nearly two-thirds (64%) said it was “very valuable.” Together, 96% said collected data was either “very valuable” or “somewhat valuable.”

For the 31% that do not collect data, a lack of resources and education were the biggest hurdles. One-third (33%) said that they did not “have the internal resources in place to do so,” while 31% said “I don’t know where to even begin.” Another 21% said “I don’t have the tools or technology needed.”

“Research finds that audience data is still underleveraged by publishers and marketers,” said Jason Downie, Chief Strategy Officer at Lotame. “For all these organizations, data strategy development, management and execution require sizable investments in talent and technology – and many simply don’t have the in-house capabilities or infrastructure.”

Relatedly, among respondents that do collect data, when asked if they could have data strategy, management and activation as a managed service versus in-house, 78% said “yes.” Thirty percent said they would switch to a managed service because “we need help executing the tactics,” while 22% said they “don’t know how to optimize data to the full extent.”

One-third are becoming second-party data sellers

The most common use case for audience data was “to make my content or messaging more relevant” (60%), followed by “to help my campaigns perform better” (59%); “to sell more advertising inventory” (53%); “to win new business / RFPs” (42%); and “to sell my data” (32%).

“One-third of brands and publishers are creating new monetization opportunities by becoming second-party data providers,” added Downie. “This speaks to a demand for data quality. Second-party data is another company’s first-party data sold directly from the source. This means you understand where the data is coming from and how reliable it is from the beginning. In the transparency era, this is incredibly powerful.”

Over half of publishers use data for traffic and retention

When asked how they benchmark data strategy success, more than half (56%) of publishers said an “increase in returning visitors, uniques and pageviews” was key. It was followed by “optimization of ad inventory” (49%); “increase in advertising spend” (46%); “overall ROI and monetization opportunities” (38%); and “increase in winning non-endemic advertisers” (33%).

“Publishers are focused on driving traffic and growing audience,” said Downie. “This has a cascade effect on their ad success and the value they can claim for partners. So, it’s no surprise that data is being evaluated by traffic volume and pageviews.”

Nearly 60% of marketers rely on data to boost loyalty

Among marketers, the top-5 metrics for data success were: 1) “increased brand loyalty” (58%); 2) “increase in ad performance” (49%); 3) “increase in conversions/purchases” (43%); 4) “overall ROI and monetization opportunities” (29%); and “decreased ad waste / more effective ad spend” (26%).

“There’s a lot of talk about waste in advertising right now,” said Downie. “But brand loyalty continues to be the focus for marketers. It’s how they judge the success of their data by a large margin.”